The Ultimate Collector’s Treasure: A Pristine Rolex Submariner 1680 “Red” Case Study

IMPORTANT NOTE: The watch presented here is being offered for sale as Lot 2000 in our upcoming Fine Jewels & Watches auction, which is open for pre-bidding now and will go live on Thursday, April 20, 2023 After reading the article below, click here to visit the auction or hit the button at the bottom of the page to view this lot.

When it comes to watch collecting, condition can elevate a timepiece from ordinary to truly extraordinary. FORTUNA is thrilled to present an immaculate Rolex 1680 “Red Submariner” in our upcoming auction, a perfect example of how pristine condition can transform a watch into a collector’s dream.

The Submariner is an iconic and highly collectible Rolex model, worn by James Bond and adored by fans worldwide. In the late 1960s, Rolex introduced the 1680 reference with a date complication, catering to its evolving status as a cultural symbol. Rolex produced the watch with the “SUBMARINER” text written in a bright red hue for just a short period of time. In the years since, many of these watches had their dials replaced during servicing. It’s this short production run combined with a penchant for dial replacements during servicing that makes the “Red Sub” one of the most sought-after Submariners in the world.

While the Rolex “Red Sub” is undoubtedly rare and desirable, the condition of the example significantly impacts its value. The inclusion of original paperwork and accessories further impacts value. The present watch offers two key factors important to collectors: exceptional condition and complete original accessories. Its unpolished case, original dial with aged lume, bezel insert, and folded-link bracelet place it in a distinguished category as the collector market matures.

Moreover, the presence of the original box, papers, and accompanying accessories make this timepiece a truly investment-grade example. It is a rarity to find a watch with all its original elements intact, setting this “Red Sub” apart from the rest.

Time can be unkind to many watches; cases become polished, original dials are replaced, and boxes and papers are often lost or discarded. This “Red Sub” was fortunate to have an owner who cherished the timepiece and diligently ensured its preservation, along with the safeguarding of its ancillary components. This watch truly exemplifies the benefits of diligent care and attention to detail—attributes any discerning collector can appreciate—and serves as a benchmark for evaluating the quality of other Red Submariners in the market.

Don’t miss this historic opportunity to own one of the finest Red Submariners in existence. The FORTUNA Fine Jewels & Watches auction is open for bidding now and goes live on April 20th at 11 AM EDT.

Where to Buy Rolex Watches

You can find Rolex watches for sale at nearly every one of FORTUNA’s biweekly auctions. We are honored to sell watches from Rolex—one of the greatest brands in the history of the world—and would be thrilled to help you on your journey to build your collection, whether you are a veteran collector or just getting started. 

Register to bid at an upcoming auction today.